Today’s post is from Samantha Savory at PowerWallet.com
Do you know what you need to spend per day for a year to waste $10,000? Just $27.40 a day. If you find yourself eating out every day, it’s easy to accomplish that task. As women, we get paid 77 cents for every dollar that our counterpart earns, which is why it is even more imperative to watch our spending habits and get the most out of our money. That means that because I am a female, I am likely to earn $431,000 less over the span of my lifetime, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
These somewhat alarming statistics are what have helped me control my spending, save more and eat out less. To help you overcome the urge to splurge on a food, here are 8 ways to cut down your dining expenditures!
1. Eat for less with coupons – Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial offer 50-70% off coupons for local restaurants. In addition to these popular coupon sites, when you sign up for PowerWallet, a free online money management tool, you also get access to customized coupons based on your geographical location and spending history. So for example, if you love Asian cuisine and live in Atlanta, Ga., you will get offered great coupons and deals for local various Asian restaurants in your local community.
2. Gift cards – You can buy gift cards to various restaurants for half the price on sites like Restaurants.com, eBay, svmcards.net and Amazon. So instead of spending $20 every time you eat out, get a $50 or $100 gift card for half off and use that throughout the month for your eating out expenses.
3. Use social media to score deals – Follow your favorite restaurants on top social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Foursquare to get access to freebies, exclusive coupons and contests. You’d be surprised how much you can save by participating in social contests.
4. Divide a meal – For many restaurants, serving sizes are so big that you can easily be split with a friend or loved one. This way, you can kill two birds with one stone, reduce your eating out expenses and reduce your calorie intake.
5. Research – With apps like UrbanSpoon, you can still be a “foodie” and stick to staying under budget by eating at affordable restaurants that won’t cost you too much. UrbanSpoon shows restaurants by the types of cuisine, cost category and geographical location. They also offer great real-time reviews from real people so you know where not to waste your money!
6. 2 for 1 – If you find yourself wanting to eat out often, do a quick Google search to see who is offering 2 for 1’s on drinks or meals. Restaurants like Chilli’s, TGIF’s and the Olive Garden offer great deals like this frequently.
7. Stick to water – When dining out, skip the expensive and high calorie drinks and deserts and you can easily eliminate $5 to $10 in expenses. Doing this overtime will make a huge impact on your budget.
8. Eat out less – This is kind of a no-brainer, but simply look at how much you currently spend on eating out on a monthly basis and then make a conscious effort to cut back. Be realistic when making changes to your budget. You don’t have to stop eating out completely, but instead of eating out 4 times a week, opt for just twice a week and you will see your cash flow will increase and make your life a little better! Also take advantage of PowerWallet’s spending alerts that will help you stay within your set dining out budget!